ibnlive » Books

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:42am IST

When Mahatma Gandhi helped lovers get married

New Delhi: Although much is known about Mahatma Gandhi, there is always a new story waiting to be uncovered.

In the book 'In The Shadow Of Freedom', Laxmi Tendulkar Dhaul narrates her parents' (Ayi Tendulkar and Indumati) love story, a story that features Mahatma Gandhi and a who's who of Indian freedom struggle. Even though Laxmi disapproved of her father's "much-married" status, her parents married on the condition that they will not have children until Independence.

Laxmi's father Ayi Tendulkar came back to India from Germany in 1939, before the Second World War, leaving behind a wife, whom he loved.

After returning from Germany, Tendulkar met Indumati. Mahatma Gandhi was involved in their love story and agreed to get them married but he did have second thoughts and several conditions.

Here is an excerpt from the letter read by Laxmi:

Ayi Tendulkar handed Bapu's hand-written note to Indu, which said: "My dear Tendulkar, many are protesting to me that I am officiating at your marriage tomorrow. Among them are Manilal and his wife. She tells me that this will be your third marriage. Though I believe in one man-one wife and vice versa for all times. I know about your German wife but nothing about your previous wife. My son says none of my ideals will be realised in this union and that neither you nor Indu will carry out my wish that you may not procreate during the country's dependence."

In reply to this letter, the couple met Gandhi and said, "Nobody can deny us the right to have children." So Gandhiji said that okay then don't have children till independence.

It is such an unusual, very personal love story which ends up having such archival value not just by virtue of the documents but also by the roll call of personalities walking through the story.

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